The United States Postal Service plans to drop Saturday mail delivery in August, while keeping package delivery on that day.
U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said the decision was regrettable, but understandable, given the massive losses piled up by the Postal Service. Carper has been working to enact a financial rescue plan for the Postal Service.
“The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” said Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster genera. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”
Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages. However, recent strong growth in package delivery (14 percent volume increase since 2010) and projections of continued strong package growth throughout the coming decade led to the revised approach to maintain package delivery six days per week, a USPS release noted.
In August of 2013, mail delivery to street addresses will occur Monday through Friday. Packages will continue to be delivered six days per week. Mail addressed to PO Boxes will continue to be delivered on Saturdays. Post Offices currently open on Saturdays will remain open on Saturdays.
Market research conducted by the Postal Service and independent research by major news organizations indicate that nearly seven out of ten Americans (70 percent) supported the switch to five-day delivery as a way for the Postal Service to reduce costs in its effort to return the organization to financial stability.¹ Support for this approach will likely be even higher since the Postal Service plans to maintain six-day package delivery.
The Postal Service is making the announcement today, more than six months in advance of implementing five-day mail delivery schedule, to give residential and business customers time to plan and adjust, according to a release.
The operational plan for the new delivery schedule anticipates a combination of employee reassignment and attrition and is expected to achieve cost savings of approximately $2 billion annually when fully implemented.
The Postal Service is currently implementing major restructuring throughout its retail, delivery and mail processing operations. Since 2006, the Postal Service has reduced its annual cost base by approximately $15 billion, reduced the size of its career workforce by 193,000 or 28 percent, and has consolidated more than 200 mail processing locations. During these unprecedented initiatives, the Postal Service continued to deliver record high levels of service to its customers.
While the change in the delivery schedule announced today is one of the actions needed to restore the financial health of the Postal Service, legislative change is urgently needed to address matters outside the Postal Service’s control, the release noted.